By Dustin Cabeal
The last time I read Harbinger was when I was still called Harbinger. I never got into Imperium since another reviewer was on and off that one. It doesn’t seem like I missed too much since it’s easily recapped in this issue. Frankly, the strength of the series has been when Peter and Harada were in it together. I say that not knowing if Harada will show up in this series, but with the strong hope he will.
The issue is broken up into two stories because Valiant has figured out their house style of storytelling and it’s brilliant because it works for the story and the monthly grind. This way, two artists can take a crack at the book, and it still ships on time. Other publishers have tried this, but they don’t get that the story needs to be broken up and so poop on them.
The first part of the story is about Harada trying to capture some dude. We don’t know shit about him other than the fact that he’s well prepared for Harada’s team to storm his mansion. So prepared that he kills wave after wave of people and even makes sure to take his dog with him so that Harada can’t view his mind. Dude is prepared.
The second part of the comic is spent with the Renegades or what’s left of them. It’s a great concept because it deals with the list that they leaked that showed all the potential Psiots in the world. Between the government and a group of Psiot kids, everyone is chasing down the kids to get them activated. Faith shows up to save one such person and decides she needs to get the gang back together and starts with Kris.
What’s interesting to me personally on this first issue is how much it feels like Joshua Dysart’s run on the title. There are nuances that separate Dysart and Rafer Roberts, but I would say that he’s done an incredible job of picking up the tone and feeling of Harbinger. The writing and dialogue is very good. The plot is a little obvious at the moment which is the biggest difference between Dysart and Roberts, but it is also the first issue. We’re still getting a lay of the land, and I’ve been out of the Harbinger game for a long time. The last few pages did get me hyped and ready for the next issue.
There’s a lot of artists on this book. The recap is by Raúl Allén which is good because he is very good. The prologue has art by Juan José Ryp, and if you’ve ever read a review I’ve done for Ryp’s work, then you know that I absolutely love it. No change here. His artwork is still stunning, and I think he’s getting quicker as an artist, but still keeping the details. Just incredible. Now I know my next statement will catch me some flak and I don’t care; I’m not a big fan of Darick Robertson. There’s something about his character faces that I don’t enjoy. They’re often hard to look at, and his overall style relies on a lot of shadows and baggy clothing. Strangely enough, I liked it here. He felt at home with this universe, and while I doubt that he’ll stay on the book for long, I pleased that I’m enjoying his style on it for now. We’ll see if that continues.
My rule of thumb lately is that I don’t read what I’m not reviewing because I review a lot. That means I’ve missed a lot of Valiant’s titles over the past year. With their new books releasing, though, I’m taking this chance to get caught back up and while they’re not all winners in my book, it's good to see that the vast majority of their publishing line is good to great. I still have a hard time thinking of another publisher I can say that about which is a credit to Valiant. Lastly, I’m just really glad to have a Harbinger title to read again and will be looking forward to more Renegades as we approach Harbinger Wars 2.
Harbinger Renegade #1
Writer: Rafer Roberts
Artist: Raúl Allén, Juan José Ryp, Darick Robertson
Publisher: Valiant Comic